21/10/2012 10:59 BST | Updated 19/12/2012 05:12 GMT

The Meaning of Life?

Whether I'm in the countryside or town, on a dark, cold, rainy night or a day lit and warmed by brilliant sunshine, one constant is clear to me - it is all made possible by that strange phenomenon we call Life - and I am drawn to wonder - what purpose does it have?

Life has existed for billions of years. Throughout that time it has manifested in countless different forms, from simple cells to complex creatures made of millions of parts. Every one, it seems, is a vehicle for the essential spark which animates inert matter and enables it to live. And whether you believe the source of that spark is divine or occurred merely by chance, it surely is miraculous - and the question remains - what is it for?

When I look around me I can discern everywhere signs that Life has purpose. The forms that living things take and their activities, indicate the existence of an organising principle, and a common objective. I see that every type of creature and plant has evolved with its external structure and internal organs arranged and coordinated into what is required to enable each to survive in its particular environment and I am drawn to the conclusion that the purpose of Life, the common objective, is merely to survive, at least long enough so that every organism will have a chance to procreate. Life, it seems, is here simply to exist - to persist, and perpetuate itself.

Then I notice that the presence of living things alters their surroundings, requiring both plants and animals to be constantly adapting, in the short term and over eons, to perpetually changing local and global ecosystems. The outcome seems clear - a continuous process has been established in which Life has played the essential part, driving the creation of organisms of greater and greater complexity and thus far the most sophisticated of all is us, human beings.

As complex as we are we seem, at first consideration, to be little different to other forms that live. At the most basic level our every part and function is organised and coordinated so we need do little more than exist, react and procreate - and so persist for as long as possible. Albeit, as a species go we do it in more complicated ways than any other. But in observing what we are capable of I sense a purpose to Life that pleases me - whether or not I am correct.

Each of us has abilities that other species do not possess. We have the capacity to become aware of ourselves and we possess the ability to imagine possible outcomes of our proposed actions, and how we want to be. Most important of all, we are capable of deciding to change ourselves, mind and body - we can choose how to be - and in doing so perhaps we can choose something a great deal more important.

If Life expresses itself only through the medium of living things, and living things have been evolving over the millennia, then it seems likely to me that Life itself is evolving as well. If so, each of is an expression of that force which is Life and we are playing our part in its ongoing evolution simply by being. If I look at the diversity of living things I am also led to conclude that Life Force is not homogenous but exists now as a wide and diverse spectrum of influences or qualities. If I consider human beings I see we represent a spectrum of Life not found in other forms - there are angry people, loving people, tolerant people, hate filled people, greedy people - and it seems there is a place for all of us, just as we are, playing our part in Life's purpose.

I also see that our ability to change ourselves - from hateful to loving for example or from angry to tolerant - gives each of us a unique opportunity to choose the quality of Life Force we express. And since it seems that on our demise Life will go on - or to put it another way those qualities of Life we have chosen to nurture will persist, it follows that we may each have been given a profoundly wonderful opportunity, the chance to choose the nature, the quality, of Life and the living things in the future.

If so that gives meaning enough to my Life - what gives meaning to yours?.